Virgin Trains have stepped in to provide complimentary travel to London for a class of 25 seven- and eight-year-old pupils this Friday following an appeal to Sir Richard Branson.
Simon Rusling, deputy headteacher at Holme Slack Community Primary School in Preston, suggested writing to the Virgin boss after concluding that the school, which is in an area of multiple deprivation, would not be able to provide transport for an educational trip.
The Year 3 class are studying the lives and times of the Vikings and one of the pupils found out about the Vikings: Life and Legend exhibition at the British Museum.
Mr Rusling said this had sent the children “into a frenzy” of excitement and described Virgin Trains’ intervention as “extremely generous and much more than we expected”.
After the children wrote letters to Sir Richard, Virgin Trains contacted the school offering to sponsor the whole trip on Friday, May 23, providing free transport on their Preston to London Euston service for all the children and 11 accompanying staff.
The company also got in touch with Go-Ahead London who agreed to supply a bus to give the children a whistle stop tour of London after their visit to the British Museum to ensure they really do have a day to remember. Preston Bus is also helping out by providing free transport from the school to Preston Station.
Mr Rusling said: “This is a rare opportunity for the children to experience London. Many of them have never been before. In our school, we are always looking for ways to bring life to the curriculum.
“The opportunity to see this amazing exhibition will enrich our Viking topic immensely. The children can’t wait to see some of the incredible artefacts, many of which have been transported from all over the world to appear in Britain for the first time. The exhibition features the remains of the longest Viking long boat ever found.
“I suggested writing a letter to Virgin’s boss after breaking the news to the children that the school would not be able to take the class to London. The response from Virgin Trains has been extremely generous and much more than we expected. We held an open morning in school to make the announcement to the children and their parents.
“It will be a long and tiring day for the children. Preston Bus, who are also providing free transport, are picking the children up at around 6:15am in order to catch the train at 6:57am. The children are extremely excited and can’t wait for what is sure to be a fantastic and memorable day. We can’t thank Virgin enough.”
Stuart Davison, Customer Experience Manager for Lancashire, added: “We’re really pleased the kids got in touch and we’ve been able to help them out.
“Our staff area really looking forward to welcoming them on board and giving them a day to remember.”
Colin Farrant, Go Ahead London's commercial manager, said: "Go-Ahead London is delighted to be providing, as part of the children's visit a trip across London on one of our modern red double deck buses, giving a superb view of many of London's most famous landmarks."
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